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Why has Dick Cheney been on the press circuit for a week, bragging about his involvement in waterboarding suspect terrorists, snooping into the correspondence and phone calls of millions of Americans, and making blood-curdling statements about tyrannical power that are, as Bart Gellman correctly notes, “even more radical than Nixon’s”? Could it be that he’s been promised a pardon for Christmas? At today’s press gathering, White House spokesman Tony Fratto was quick to alert the media to be prepared for more pardons. Nineteen further pardons were issued this afternoon, but more are on the way, and presidents since George Washington have saved their most controversial pardons for their last day in office.
What, exactly, did Dick Cheney do that needs pardoning? Well, there’s plenty besides the torture, the snooping, and the murky Halliburton dealings in Nigeria. Murray Waas has a remarkable scoop that may go overlooked in the holiday flurry: he offers up tidbits from the notes of FBI agents who interviewed Cheney in connection with Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe into the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. The bottom line—Dick Cheney played a central role in the process, and he’s still got plenty to be worried about.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”